November 2020 election: Meet the candidates for Round Rock City Council Place 4

Frank Ortega and Will Peckham are running for Round Rock City Council Place 4.
Frank Ortega and Will Peckham are running for Round Rock City Council Place 4.

Frank Ortega and Will Peckham are running for Round Rock City Council Place 4.



ROUND ROCK



City Council Place 4










Frank Ortega



Occupation: real estate agent with AFAustin Team Powered by Keller Williams Realty


Experience: community and business leader, activist, and life-long Texan running for Round Rock City Council Place 4


Website: N/A




What would be your top priorities if you are elected?




FO: Transportation to ensure that we combat the heavy traffic that has continually increase within the city of Round Rock by looking at other form of transportation. Affordability so that teacher, firefighters, police officers, nurses, can afford to buy a home and live in Round Rock and not price anyone out of their homes. Gentrification, by making sure that small business are not priced out and by using smart growth that will benefit small business and [...]




What uniquely qualifies you for this position?




FO: That I will keep myself accountable, trusted, and the quality of being fair and impartial as your Round Rock City Council member.




How should Round Rock manage its growth?




FO: We can’t fight growth, instead we have to make sure that the growth in our city is equitable and doesn’t cause our generational residents and families to be taxed out of their homes and displaced, as well as low income residents. People who work here should be able to afford to live and work here. We need to help keep small businesses alive. We need to keep rent fair for local businesses. The community here [...]




What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the city, and how will you improve it?




FO: If we don’t carefully manage growth, we could drive out small businesses and push out homeowners. We need to work to balance both by using smart growth. Allow the citizens of Round Rock to have more of a say in the city and its direction. I think it’s important to hear as many viewpoints as possible in order to understand how situations affect everyone.












Will Peckham



Occupation: CEO, Round Rock Travel & Cruises


Experience: Texas A&M University BS; travel professional 25 years; Aggie 100 – Top Aggie owned Companies in World






What would be your top priorities if you are elected?




WP: Address our traffic congestion issues through our long-term road development plan. Keep our local economy strong by maintaining a favorable business climate and attracting new employers. Keep Round Rock one of the safest cities in America by providing law enforcement and our first responders with the resources they need.




What uniquely qualifies you for this position?




WP: In difficult times, experience matters. In addition to my time on City Council, I’ve also served on the boards of numerous civic organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club. As longtime Round Rock residents, my wife and I care about this community and want to do everything in my power to ensure that it remains one of the best places in the country to live, work, and raise a family.




How should Round Rock manage its growth?




WP: Effective management requires experienced leadership. As Round Rock continues to grow, its leaders must rise to meet new challenges and ensure that we are effectively serving the people of this community by maintaining a favorable business climate and keeping taxes low.




What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the city, and how will you improve it?




WP: The greatest challenge is adequately addressing the rapid growth our city continues to experience. A large part of that means having the experience necessary to sperate “wants” from “needs” in the city budget, and make sure we are spending our taxpayer dollars as smartly as possible. I believe we have been addressing this issue with our strategic goal retreats to accomplish yearly goals with still looking to the 5, 10 and 15 year horizon.






Editor's note: [...] indicates an answer was edited for length. Candidates were given specific word limits for each question.

By Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Buchanan joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 after completing a master of journalism degree from the University of Texas. She worked as the senior reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition and is now the editor for the company's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition.


MOST RECENT

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The temporary waiver covering initial vehicle registration, vehicle registration renewal, vehicle titling, renewal of permanent disabled parking placards and 30-day temporary permits will end April 14. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
Officials: No grace period to follow end of statewide waiver for vehicle title, registration requirements

Officials with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles announced April 5 there will be no grace period following the end of the temporary waiver of certain vehicle title and registration requirements this month.

The new tool will give Texans one place to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine through multiple health departments, including the eight DSHS public health regions—which provides public health services to nearly 200 Texas counties—as well as more than a dozen local health entities statewide. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Department of State Health Services launches Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler

The new tool will give Texans one place to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine through multiple health departments, including the eight DSHS public health regions—which provides public health services to nearly 200 Texas counties—as well as more than a dozen local health entities statewide.

Residents wait to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin on March 13. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
More than 74,000 vaccine first doses coming to Austin-area providers in next week

The total allocation is fewer than the area received last week from the state.

The Centers for Disease Control released new guidance on in-person instruction for K-12 grade schools on March 19. (Courtesy Pexels)
CDC loosens guidelines on social distancing in schools

The updated guidance recommends students maintain 3 feet of social distancing in classrooms while wearing masks.

Rice Stadium Vaccine Site
Texas vaccine rollout: After 90 days, over 2.9 million fully inoculated

That figure represents about 13% of Texans over age 16—roughly one of every seven.

Three weeks after the the state's power grid failed leaving millions of Texans without power amid freezing temperatures, the Public Utility Commission of Texas named Adrianne Brandt as the agency's new director of ERCOT accountability in a news release March 11. (Courtesy Public Utility Commission of Texas)
Public Utility Commission of Texas names new director of ERCOT accountability

Three weeks after the the state's power grid failed leaving millions of Texans without power amid freezing temperatures, the Public Utility Commission of Texas named Adrianne Brandt as the agency's new director of ERCOT accountability in a news release March 11.

Lawmakers have returned to the Capitol for the 87th Texas Legislature. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Proposed curriculum, funding changes: 14 public education bills filed in the 87th Texas Legislature

Hundreds of bills related to public education have been filed in the 87th Texas Legislature, from curriculum requirement additions to funding formula changes.

According to a March 4 news release, the updated guidance includes a face covering requirement for employees and encourages guests to wear a face covering when they are not seated at their table. The updated guidance also maintains key safety protocols like regular cleaning and disinfecting, hand-sanitizing stations, and employee and customer health screenings. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
SURVEY: More than 70% of Texas restaurants still requiring employees to wear masks despite statewide mandate lift

The majority of Texas restaurant owners will choose to continue requiring staff to wear face masks after March 10 when Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide mask mandate lifts, according to the results of an informal survey conducted by the Texas Restaurant Association in early March.

With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorization of a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos. of Johnson & Johnson in late February, U.S. residents who want to get inoculated against the coronavirus now have three vaccines to choose from—each with varying degrees of efficacy. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
EXPLAINED: See how the 3 COVID-19 vaccines available in the US stack up

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna—both two-shot vaccines—have higher efficacy rates for preventing illness than the single-shot Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine; the vaccine efficacy rates stand at 95%, 94.1% and 66.3%, respectively.

Dr. Benjamin Neuman, a virologist with the Texas A&M University System, spoke about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas ahead of the March 10 rollback of mask and capacity rules. (Community Impact staff)
Q&A: Virologist discusses COVID-19 response and rollback of state restrictions

Dr. Benjamin Neuman, a virologist with the Texas A&M University System, spoke about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas ahead of the March 10 rollback of mask and capacity rules.